Late thuiskomst


Het is laat, donker, en bovendien koud en nat. Mijn fiets heeft me weer eens in de steek gelaten. Beter gezegd: mijn fietsband. Alweer. Ik weet het wel, die binnenband moet hoognodig vervangen worden. Ik heb 'm nu al zo vaak geplakt dat je beter van een plakband dan van een binnenband kunt spreken. Maar ja, beetje pinnig aangelegd, dus ik blijf het maar uitstellen. Nu ik zo met die fiets aan de hand door de kou worstel ben ik toch overtuigd: ik ga morgen langs de fietsenmaker.

Ze zijn aan het verbouwen, bij ons in de flat. Het heet met een duur woord 'renovatie', maar er gebeurt niet veel meer dan een likje verf en hier en daar wat nieuwe tegeltjes in de keuken. De een of andere goochemerd heeft voor al die werkzaamheden een bouwcontainer zo neergezet dat de bergingen nauwelijks bereikbaar zijn. Ik heb het te koud en ik geef het dus snel op. Ik ben trouwens niet de enige, er staan allerlei fietsen aan de lantaarnpaal vastgemaakt. Gelukkig is er bij het verkeersbord met die grote P erop nog een plekje. Een fiets gewoon op de standaard zetten is hier geen optie, het enige dat je dan te wachten staat is een onprettige verrassing in de ochtend. Fietsen hebben geen automatische pootjes en ook zelfrijdende fietsen bestaan naar mijn weten nog niet, maar er gebeuren 's nachts onverkwikkelijke dingen met gemakkelijk bereikbare exemplaren. Op camerabeelden is de volgende ochtend weinig meer te zien dan figuren met bivakmutsen die de gemakkelijke buit op aanhangwagentjes plaatst.

Ik heb een flinke fietsketting, zwaar en degelijk uitgevoerd. Ook daarin leer je bij. Goedkope fietskettingen worden net zo gemakkelijk doorgeknipt als ware het waslijntjes. Als je die gebruikt blijft er van je trouwe rijwiel niets anders over dan de restanten van die ketting, en die moet je nog zelf in de afvalemmer gooien ook.

Als ik eindelijk mijn fiets stevig heb verankerd controleer ik nog even of het verkeersbord zelf stevig genoeg in de grond staat. Dieven deinzen nergens voor terug, maar gelukkig hoef ik niet bang te zijn dat ze het hele bord uit de grond tillen om mijn fiets simpel te kunnen meenemen. Het ding staat stevig genoeg.

Rillend ga ik naar binnen, ik ben langzamerhand door- en doorkoud geworden. Nog even een drankje, een warme douche en dan lekker onder de warme dekens. Tot morgen!


(c)2018 Hans van Gemert
Afbeelding: Pixabay

Dit steekwoordenverhaal past in de schrijfuitdaging van december 2018:

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Requiem: Chapter 5
- Just in time Stephen March could save himself from a certain death with a lateral leap. The bright red glider drilled into the window of ' Redstone & Son ', a branch of a Western electronics company that had gained a foothold in the New World. One of the first groups to have won this authorization after the Second Cold War. The reinforced windows of the electronics store were no match for the kinetic forces of the runaway vehicle. The window glass splits into countless small pieces. At the last moment, Stephen had seen the murder vehicle rushing at him in the light of the window window. His rapid reaction, an instinctive reflex at the moment itself - was happiness or perhaps the result of his daily workout - had given him that small chance and saved his life. Because most of the pieces of glass had been broken up by the movement of the glider inside the shop space, March had not suffered any serious cuts. His pants and vest were torn and smeared by the fall, and his left leg was a little worse planed by the unsoft contact with the concrete, but the rest was not easy.. While he was still recovering from the first shock, he heard above the panicked screams of the pedestrians who witnessed the event, from the store a metallic scraping. To his great surprise, he saw the red carlide moving out of the storefront and turning to him. Stephen frowned amazed the eyebrows. Apparently, that killing machine was targeting him. This wasn't a coincidence, not an ordinary accident.. His hunch shouted at him a single word: “Run!’. He took the first street on the right at a delirious pace, almost slipping he could just avoid a pedestrian who was angry behind him. A second later he heard a bons accompanied by a creepy scraping sound. Stephen looked backwards and saw the unfortunate passerby crushed by the chasing autobot slipping along the wall in a blood-red pattern. The fear knocked him in the throat, the adrenaline made him run even faster. He thought the Metro, I should get it.. There, the runaway computer car wouldn't be able to follow him. He jumped up the stairs with two steps at the same time that would lead him to the main street via a few inland roads and also to the entrance of the underground train network. Whenever he reached the end of one of those roads, he heard the murderous vehicle approaching and blowing his neck like a hot breath. He walked even faster, and it seemed like he was given wings because of the fear that drove him. Eventually he came into the street where the entrance to the Metro was. He saw it as a redeeming mouth that would swallow it up. Another ten meters. With his last breath he squeezed out one last sprint. With a tiger jump, he plunged forward down the stairs and hurtfully rolled to the bottom of the entrance, where he hoped to be safe from the murderous autobot. Stephen felt vomited. It was a miracle, but apparently he didn't break anything at first sight, even though he was in pain everywhere. He crawled stumbling and leaning against a pillar again upright. The red monster remained hovering in front of the entrance to the Metro for a while and then disappeared out of sight.. People looked at him with fear, and many walked around him in a wide bow.. In the light of a window of a train he saw the reason. He just looked like a wreck. In the toilet of the underground, he tried to decent his clothes some and take up the worst damage. All in all, it turned out to be too easy. All his muscles were stiff due to the intense effort but nothing felt broken to. He bled from a number of small wounds to the elbows and hands. The abrasions on his leg did not look really life-threatening, although it had to be taken care of professionally. Stephen should see a doctor as soon as possible for a skilled patch. Now he no longer looked like a diplomat Stephen March, but more like a clochard who had walked into the wall several times in his alcoholic haze... or perhaps fell down the stairs of the Metro. His first idea was to tell the police everything and file a complaint against strangers. Only then did he realize that he had not seen a license plate number on his murderous stalker. In the New World all gliders or autobots were numbered on the bottom, the doors and the top of the vehicles. So one could immediately see or find out which city or area they came from. In addition, the windows were darkened so that he could not disclose the face of the driver or occupants. weird! He would wait a while to visit the police. His sixth sense told him that he might do more harm than good with that.. After an hour on the emergency service of the nearest hospital, he was given the necessary iodine tincture, special adhesive plasters containing an antibiotic and gauze dressing - and what was especially important - a strong painkiller. His leg was not broken, but still hit worse than he had previously suspected. Stephen told the doctor on duty that he had fallen from the stairs of the subway entrance due to a misstep and sustained those injuries. Even if that was only half the truth, it wasn't a lie. It sounded really convincing how Stephen brought it, but this explanation also avoided any annoying questions from the doctor on duty or a mandatory visit to the law services. Stephen March didn't get high on the Security Service right now, especially after the unsolved murder of his half-sister Suzy. The idea of walking a block and a little more at Redstone & Son to inquire, he also rejected. Maybe any witnesses recognized him while the police were still there investigating the case. What intrigued him most of all was the reason behind this unexpected attack on his person. Why was he attacked, hunted like a wild animal, eventually he was also nearly killed? What was the point, what was behind this, was this connected to Suzy's murder?? All the questions haunted in his head. He felt hunted and anxious and looked around as he sought his way back. When he was back at his apartment, he first poured himself a good whiskey.. He knew that it was not wise to mix medicines and alcohol, but this was an exception to the rule. His hand was still shaking slightly when the golden moisture was poured into the crystal glass. He took a big sip of Chivas Regal. Stephen felt the fluid that immediately warmed him a way to his stomach, which now settled some. Stephen let the last hours before his mind's eye pass. After the identification with Suzy's personal items he had received from Mr. Huang, he went for a walk in the shopping streets of Sanctuary. Getting his feelings back under control after the psychological thump he got in the morgue. Then suddenly the red homicide vehicle that showed up at him? Stephen put the rest of his whiskey glass aside and poured out the contents of the canary yellow plastic bag with his sister's personal belongings, whom he miraculously could have saved during all those struggles of the last few hours, onto the table. There were the usual things that are usually found in the possessions of a woman. First of all, her torn and bloody garments, which he laid apart with due respect and a great piece of dismay. Another example of the lack of sympathy from the New World police forces. In the pocket there was also a torn handbag, a broken lip gloss, a key ring, a hairbrush that had also suffered under the trap, a crushed pack of started paper wipes and a wallet with some banknotes in it, some pictures, but all her credit cards were missing or withheld by the Security Service. Scattered, he was messing around in all the boxes of her wallet when he found between two pictures in a note pleated in two. March immediately recognized Suzy Chang's beautiful female handwriting. There was only one word on it and a number: “Passage 6.”. It didn't tell him anything. That couldn't be the note Captain Vastai was talking about. The conscious note that referred to him? The key ring of four keys he weighed equally predominantly in his palm. He immediately recognized the blue rectangles key of an autobot. Number SW280387. Nothing was referring to that Passage 6. One of the other three keys must have been from Suzy's apartment since the name was printed in the key bar of the residence where she was staying: ' Pinewood House Asurai ’. A number was printed on the tip of the bar: 837. As he already knew, this referred to the eighth floor apartment 37. The other two were still a mystery to him. A mystery that he would certainly try to solve. He wouldn't ask the police what those keys were for.. By the way, if they had been of some interest, he probably wouldn't have gotten it.. Maybe today he took a walk to Pinewood House Asurai. Stephen changed and took the elevator to the underground garage with a painful grimace on his face in his own autobot and entered the address of the residence. The speech recognition program looked this up in its internal memory, started the almost silent drive system and the vehicle automatically slipped into the traffic jam of the pre-programmed route. Stephen leaned weary backwards in the seat and waited with his eyes closed for him to reach his destination.. copyright Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere Requiem: Chapter 4 or 6 - Requiem: Chapter 4 - Requiem: Chapter 6 -
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Requiem: Chapter 4
- The separation between the Old and New World had arisen after a long period of unrest and revolts. This was the result of several financial crises that ultimately led to global economic destabilisation. The source of these financial recessions was the inefficient control of the banking sector, the unlimited use of risky credit and the misuse of customer trust. They had not learned from the fiascos of the early 21st century European banks, and they offered ingenious bubbles after just decades of walking in line. As everyone knows, even a child, an air bubble has two properties. On the one hand, she can produce wonderful colors, a rainbow of colorful promises, as attractive as a colored balloon for a child . On the other hand, when an air bubble splashes open, you only have air left. This time the people from the street did not take it anymore, Jan with the cap no longer believed in the promises of yet another reform of the financial sector, no longer trusted in the laws imposed by the institutional powers on the banks. The taxes that were raised for the umpteenth time remained stuck in the throat of the citizen. They swallowed for the umpteenth time, but now they spit out government reforms. Too much is too much! The poor became poorer and the rich had a monopoly position in both the Eurozone and the rest of the world. First there were protests on a small scale. However, they grew as an enormous momentum in just a few weeks into a cascade of deadly waterfalls clapping down in the form of uncontrolled destruction and inhumane violence. Worldwide, the stock markets crashed and banks were bombed by people who wanted to secure their hard-earned savings in vain. In some countries, bloody unrest broke out, sometimes growing in certain regions into outright civil war. As a result of this unrest and insurrection, some of the population were thinned out in the first phase. Violent looting by both adults and young people from all classes of the population were daily costs. What one did not have, they stole. What one wanted, one took. Sometimes with a hard hand! Rape, public executions without trial were numerous and many times for banal reasons. Both on Heads of Government who had committed crimes against humanity and on as many innocent victims who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Lawlessness was in power and chaos preached his creed. Governments were knocked down. In some countries, part of the army joined the population. There was fighting with conventional weapons but here and there in a growing madness a button was pushed several times and cities disappeared from the face of the earth as if they had never existed. Tsunamis flooded the low-lying countries. Those who lived at sea level or lower were birds for the cat. When the violence of the water departed, the mainland was a large graveyard. In addition to this reaction of nature to the impact of the nuclear bombs, there was also the fallout that caused a decimation of the population. The problem of overpopulation in China was solved in a few months. The fatal result of the bombing caused a mass of victims. The fallout took care of the rest of the dead. For them it was a slow and painful death. A nuclear winter emerged in much of the world! Extensive zones were quarantined and survivors were left to their fate. In the end, a large part died from the effects of radiation or simply from deprivation. It was hell on earth, the devil was in power and his kingdom grew visibly. But just as many times during the evolution of man there were some people with some common sense, also individuals who were partly immune to radiation because of experimentation with special drugs and injections or simply lucky. People who joined in small groups in the aftermath of the devastation, formed new communities and grew into new nations. This happened both in the West and in the East. There was a period called the 'Second Cold War', a period of distrust and misunderstanding between the two zones and, as usual, the blame for the devastation was invariably placed on the other party. The map of the world was re-colored. As a result of the nuclear attacks, there were earthquakes, eruptions of new and old volcanoes, landslides and new islands were born. Where the East China Sea as part of the Pacific was used to be a natural border between China and Japan, these nations were now connected. The tectonic plates had pushed the seabed between these two nations upwards and now the two states were connected by land. China was so depleted in terms of its population as a result of nuclear explosions that, in addition to the people who had emigrated to Korea or Japan, there was not much left of the world power they used to be. The 21st century local disputes around the oil wells in this area were now one of their least problems. Whereas in the 15th century North and South America had been named the New World because of the discovery by European explorers of these new quotas, this was the exact opposite in 2112. After the Great War as the conflict had been called, the people of the New World in the East licked when the Old World in the West. It became a time when there was an atmosphere of irreparable distrust. There were smaller conflicts and mutual reproaches. One party blamed the other party in each confrontation anyway. Thus many years passed without any rapprochement between the two worlds. The Old World with America as a precursor and Japan and China as the main representatives of the New World in the East realized after a few decades that it could not go on like this. It was decided that the quarantine zones that are Deeplands , because of the thousands of craters in the area between the two worlds, an obvious natural boundary between the two superpowers would become. That border ultimately created a fragile and armed peace. So it went for decades. Generation after generation, the lessons of the war years and their consequences were made up as a compulsory subject in education. Both worlds were rebuilt step by step. New governments came to power. New and better laws were voted and gradually rapprochement between the two worlds. First by some people, ordinary people who came into contact with each other via the restored Internet, despite the ban on government and the controls on various means of communication. Seeds were planted in fertile soil and they grew, albeit slowly, but they became mature in their quirky way that is peculiar to life,. Brittle as they were in the beginning, it was again a probe of borders, a rediscover and appreciate new cultures and thought. There was hope again and hope does live. Tokyo, the eastern city got a big sister at its borders. They chose the very appropriate name for the new city and that was' Sanctuary '. This is contrary to the past few years, which were marked by destruction and a constant sense of insecurity, an ever-present awareness of threat among the population. ' Sanctuary 'became the new capital and had to turn this supermodern capital of the New World into a place where people felt especially safe after all those years of war violence. As the meaning of the word Sanctuary indicated, the name of the city stood for “refuge” and “security”. It possessed in all its facets the latest technology and applications in the fields of science, architecture, ICT, robotics with its specific applications in home automation and many other technological advances. Hundreds of architects had spent years looking at this project, and after a period of destruction, this new building, this modern creation, was a crown on the head of the power that drove Homo Sapiens Sapiens for centuries.. It was the power of survival, the unstoppable urge for change and progress. Then came that day when reports of mysterious disappearances at the borders of the Deeplands reached the population. The two governments of both the Old and New World sent out several reconnaissance groups to investigate these matters at their two borders. Sometimes they disappeared in turn, but after some time it was discovered that in all that time a Third World had emerged. A world that is popularly called the ' Catacombs' because it was underground, in the dark, in the tunnels that swung deep beneath and between the craters. A maze populated by deformed creatures that fed on everything that was edible. Rodents, insects or even worms that had taken foreign and grotesque forms as a result of nuclear violence. The day came when they were 100% sure. The inhabitants of the Catacombs also ate human flesh! In those days, special committees, both from the New World and the Old World, made contact and debated this problem, made solutions and rejected again. What to do without rape nature even more to contain this danger? Because of the fragile peace that prevailed, it was decided to demarcate and guard those specific dangerous zones with man and power. A wall of steel stakes connected to many layers of barbed wire was built around those zones, soldiers patrolled day and night in the vicinity. On both sides there were still reports of disturbing disappearances. One was powerless against the unannounced and bloody nocturnal food raids of the ' Cannibals' , a nickname they were given for obvious reasons. The barbed wire or the sentries didn't always stop them. Sometimes one found the chipped remains of a poor bastard. One was to some extent powerless against the unpredictable attacks of the Cannibals. The world rowed further, both in the East and in the West, with the belts they had. Sometimes a number of inhabitants of the Catacombs were captured. Prisoners were interrogated and invariably one had to conclude that the underground people were a race with a distinct language that consisted more of hoarse sounds and related gestures. The shelf life of the prisoners was the main problem. After a few days above ground, they invariably had a fever, went into a coma and died in the first week after their arrest.. Some of them committed suicide before it came to that. Much information about the operation of the world of the Cannibals had not yet been collected. In the Old World, the United States of the Western Community pursued a tight security policy. This United States of the Western Community consisted of the former United States of America, South and Central America, Africa and part of Western Europe. One had, of course, the inevitable and deadly problem of radiation. But Japan had experimented in the pre-war years with new means against radiation sickness. Nanoparticles in food and also via injection provided genetic engineering in humans in such a way that at cell level the radiation was less likely to grow into cancer. The research and testing phases were a well-kept industrial secret in the pre-Great War period. An inoculation of both the adults and the younger generation made them much more resilient against this invisible killer. In addition, one had to take his dose of medication daily. The joint operation of both these, the inoculation and the drugs made it possible to live in a world where radiation was a given, probably for a very long time. This technology was unselfishly shared with the Old World today, a very big step in the rapprochement between the two superpowers and the first greater step towards mutual trust. In addition, in the Old World in the post-war period, a technique was developed in which a miniscule identification chip was implanted in everyone. Also an application of nanotechnology. A small routine operation with major consequences. The chip was inserted under the skin at the level of the brain stem. This nanochip paired with the Medulla Oblgata. The connection to the medulla of the brainstem consisted of, on the one hand, microscopic semiconductor material and natural nanotissues to counteract the rejection processes. In the first days after the implantation, these tiny tissues developed fine fibers that sought and connected to very specific parts of the brain such as the amygdala, the hypothalamus and a few other important parts of the brain. These parts gave access to various data stored in the brain during a human life. A groundbreaking discovery in the field of nanotechnology and neurology. This mini-piece of hardware encapsulated after a few days by the attachment of the natural tissues to the brainstem and through the numerous fibers they formed a kind of neuronal connection between various parts of the brain and the nanochip. The introduction of the nanochip into the medulla medulla made it virtually impossible to remove it afterwards without causing irreparable damage to the brain. The encapsulation and interweaving with the various parts of the brain of the person concerned after the attachment time would catalogue such an attempt to remove as a surgical murder. That way everyone could be tracked as a light between any other identification point on a map. Under the heading of 'safety for everyone', privacy became an outdated and archaic concept . What the identification chip in various other possibilities could contain even more was a well-kept secret, known only to some insiders and not to mention of course the designers themselves. 'They' had the real power in their hands. Of course, there was opposition to such a measure. However, that protest was quickly smothered in the bud with convincing arguments and sometimes also with some arms display. After the nuclear adventure, people could easily be reminded of the necessity that everyone should be detectable. This is to prevent anyone from being in the vicinity of a fallout zone without knowing it, with all the health hazards that entail. Measures in favor of health were accepted by most with gratitude. In addition, the procedure was free! None of the survivors wanted to die of some kind of cancer if one could avoid it that way. Someone with the nanochip received a danger signal in the brain as an approximate fallout zone. Death still invisibly around and those who were not directly convinced were persuaded and chipped by a majority of convinced people after a while. And the chip worked! The government also did checks, and whoever was visually spotted and didn't appear on the radar was in bad papers. Within the shortest time it was also implanted a brain chip. The control and treatment of chip free persons in the countries of the United States of the Western Community was in the hands of the International Chip Scanning Agency , called ICSA for short. With the chip and the drugs and vaccinations, life in the Old World had become a little safer. The piece of privacy that one had to surrender was subordinated to the result. At least, according to the inhabitants of the Old World. However, the problem was in the total and unconditional rejection of chipping by the New World. After the last Revolution in China and Korea, in which scientists and leading representatives of education, both professors and students, this time unanimously supported by the army, had seized power, new values were introduced in these areas. The party administration had died in the aftermath of the nuclear winter except a few or killed during the unrest of the revolution. They were replaced by a committee of leading scientists, students and professors. In view of the thinning of the Chinese population and much of the Deeplands that ploughed China after the Great War, they depended mainly on what Japan decided in the Council Chamber, which, although also included those responsible for Korea and China. The dwarf had become a giant and vice versa. Where people used to be locked up to stand up for their opinion, now without fear of reprisals, freedom of expression was propagated without hesitation or fear of reprisals. The important decisions were no longer taken by those who used to be alone in charge, but by that Council Chamber which was composed of individuals from all the states of the population of countries of the New World. Democracy had never been so tasted in the New World. Therefore, the rapprochement between the two Worlds with the natural wall of the fallout zones between them was a process of long breath. These zones were located near Eastern European countries, the former Russian States and a large part of China that had now turned into desolate lunar landscape. One major nuclear ruin! copyright Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere PS: I must honestly confess that I made a mistake. Chapter 4 was supposed to be chapter 3 and vice versa but it doesn't matter for the story. Some readers have noted in the past that this chapter with the history of the demise of the Old World and construction of the New World as the first chapter would fit better into the story. I think not to this day, because the story is not so much about that world, but about the people who live during that period.. It is only after getting acquainted with the two main characters that a background is outlined in this chapter. Having said this, sorry for the mistake. Rudi Requiem: Chapter 3 or 5 - Requiem: Chapter 3 - Requiem: Chapter 5 -